Effective Project Based Learning for Young Children
Project based learning can be a truly effective way for young children to learn new skills. This is especially true for children in kindergarten and preschool. It is a way to teach a child not to isolate itself. It teaches a child to problem-solve and work in a group. This new, modern way of learning differs from the old teaching methods. There are mixed opinions about this approach, but many do consider it to be the new, improved way of making children learn.
Why Project Based Learning?
This learning method allows students to learn while they’re doing a project. They’re not learning the answers to a certain question from a book. Instead they are given the opportunity to search for the answers themselves and figure it out on their own.
Each project is focused on one main question that needs to be answered. In order to find the answer to that question the children must go deep into the content and reach for an understanding. This activity should inspire many skills such as problem solving, collaboration and deep thinking.
Most importantly, these kinds of projects make children think about the choices they make. It teaches them how to reflect on every situation. With this method, the children are learning some essential life skills. You might agree that these skills are way more important than remembering words written in a book. With this alternative, the children gain a skill that can be used in the real world.
How to plan an effective project based learning for young children
Starting to use project based learning can be quite tricky. Teachers who want to implement this method need to prepare first. The teacher must get the children interested and grab their attention. The children need to invest themselves in the process, right from the beginning.
During the preparation the teacher must think about all the questions that might be asked and give appropriate answers. Also, there should be a special place in the classroom for all the materials that are used.
Effective project based learning plans
There are a couple of plan project examples that are popular. These are all proven as effective when it comes to project based learning. Let’s take a look at a couple of them. All of them are primarily for kindergartners or preschoolers.
This is a good way to teach children how the community works. The children will have to discuss, study, demonstrate and evaluate the knowledge of a community member. Their role can be something they want to become in the future. They will learn about working together and choosing a job.
The goal of this plan is to teach the children that each individual is part of a society that communicates and cooperates with other people in daily life. They will always be part of a family, neighborhood, workplace or any other activity. After this project is done, the children should know how to act in front of others. They should be able to coordinate with others and discuss their role among each other.
You can start this project off with the main question: “How do people in a community choose their jobs?” There can be additional questions such as:
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- Why do you want to be that?
- According to you, which career is the most difficult?
- Do you want to do the same job as your mom, dad or some other family member?
Also, this plan should include technology – an online book, Word document, slideshow, powerpoint presentation or such.
My five senses
The main goal in this project is learning about the senses. The children start exploring parts of their body using their senses. Next, they learn about other people and animals that lack any of these five senses. They should see how people who have lost some of their senses live and why their lives differ. The children should be encouraged to find solutions to every-day problems in order to adjust to life without one sense.
Basically, this project will make the children interested in the five senses. It makes them understand how the senses make their life easier in their daily lives. They will understand how the five senses keep them safe and alive. Lastly, they will be able to know the function of each sense and explain how they use it in many situations.
You can start this project with the main question: “Do the senses help us keep us safe?” After that you can ask variety of questions such as:
- What are your body parts called?
- Which are your five senses?
- How do the senses help in your everyday life?
- What happens if someone can’t use some of their senses?
Introduction to China
This game is called “Introduction to China”, but it can be used for any culture you want them to learn about. So, you can adapt it any way you want. This project should make the children see the difference between two families – an American and a Chinese family. Each child should describe their family and their futures. They should discuss the number of people, features and relationships in the family.
The children can present their family in any way they want – by making a story book, by singing a song, by making a puppet show or any creative thing you think of. This project should teach the students about the differences. They’ll understand the difference in the structure, the cultural differences and so much more.
You can start this project with the main question: “How would you describe the effect of culture in each family?” The students can use the Internet if they know how to use it, or they can make simple story book or drawings.
As you can see, each of these games is created for a specific purpose. These games can be easily changed and adapted to any given topic. You can add or remove certain aspect to customize it for the group of children you’re working with. Remember that each group of children is different. You should try to do your best to meet the needs of your group.